In Defense of Discretionary Association Theories of Political Legitimacy: Reply to Buchanan

TitleIn Defense of Discretionary Association Theories of Political Legitimacy: Reply to Buchanan
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsArvan, M
JournalJournal of Ethics and Social Philosophy
Abstract

Allen Buchanan has argued that a widely defended view of the nature of the state – the view that the state is a discretionary association for the mutual advantage of its members – must be rejected because it cannot adequately account for moral requirements of humanitarian intervention. This paper argues that Buchanan’{}s objection is unsuccessful,and moreover, that discretionary association theories can preserve an important distinction that Buchanan’{}s alternative approach to political legitimacy cannot: the distinction between “{}internal” legitimacy (a state’{}s ability to morally justify itself to its own members) and “{}external” legitimacy (a state’{}s ability to morally justify itself to humanity more broadly).